ARC Review: THE BURNING, by Laura Bates

I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This has in now way affected my opinions, which are all my own.

Genre: Contemporary
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 5/5 stars
Series: Standalone


the burning

A rumour is like a fire. You might think you’ve extinguished it but one creeping, red tendril, one single wisp of smoke is enough to let it leap back into life again. Especially if someone is watching, waiting to fan the flames …
New school. Tick. New town. Tick. New surname. Tick. Social media profiles? Erased.
There’s nothing to trace Anna back to her old life. Nothing to link her to the ‘incident’.
At least that’s what she thinks … until the whispers start up again. As time begins to run out on her secrets, Anna finds herself irresistibly drawn to the tale of Maggie, a local girl accused of witchcraft centuries earlier. A girl whose story has terrifying parallels to Anna’s own…

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I finished this book and immediately knew I had to buy my own copy as soon as the shops opened. This book is such a timely, important book and should be required reading for all teenagers, boys and girls.

Several years ago, Laura Bates – founder of Everyday Sexism – came to speak at my school about the sexism present in our society that we accept as normal. It was the only time I’ve seen an all-girls school captivated by a speaker. Her message was so powerful, spoken with such frank eloquence, that I knew I had to read this book as soon as I could.

As you’d expect, this book is all about social media, bullying and the pressures society places on girls, particularly by their own age group. It deals with the way we shame and bully girls for things boys get a pass for, because ‘boys will be boys’. It’s hard hitting, and I was almost in tears several times, torn between wanting to throw the kindle because the situation – and the reactions – were so unfair and wanting to break down because this really happens.

The book is frank, fast paced and doesn’t let up, sinking its claws into you. I read this in under two hours, and then paced about wanting to yell at the others in the laundrette to read the book.

Anna’s relationship with her mother was amazing – so supportive and loving throughout everything going on. I wanted to cheer when her mother confronted the headteachers. It’s great to see positive female relationships in books, to have those be the focus rather than romance. Anna’s relationships with Lish and Cat are also wonderful to see.

I loved the addition of the 16th century witch-burning story line. The parallels are scarily prominent, which drives home how little underlying attitudes about women and their bodies have changed in 500 years. Not to mention the mystery the search for Maggie’s tale lent the story.

Read my reviews of other books by Laura Bates:



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